Whether you dream of studying anthropology in Ghana or business in Germany, one scholarship can make it possible. Recent college graduates, graduate students and doctoral candidates with an interest in international travel and a passion for a field of study should take a look at the Fulbright Student Scholarship.
Supported by the U.S. Department of State and administered by the Institute for International Education (IIE), the Fulbright Student Scholarship is the largest international exchange program for U.S. students. Awards are available in a variety of disciplines although most countries also have grants that allow applicants to shape their own projects. Projects may include university coursework, field and library research, teaching English, or a combination of these areas.
The Fulbright began in 1946 from a proposal by Sen. J. William Fulbright to promote “mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries around the world.” The program awards more than 8,000 grants annually and operates in 155 countries worldwide.
Fulbright Scholarship Acceptance Rate
Generally, the acceptance rate for Fulbright Scholarships is 20%, although it does vary year by year but only by a few percentage points.
To be eligible for the Fulbright Student Scholarship:
- Students must be U.S. citizens and in good health.
- Applicants must be a graduating college senior, BS/BA degree holder, or a master’s or doctoral degree candidate.
- Some Fulbright positions require proficiency in the language of the country where the project will take place.
- Preference is given to students who have not resided or studied for longer than six months in the country to which they are applying.
Fulbright Scholarship GPA
The Fulbright Scholarship does not require a certain GPA for eligibility. However, many colleges may have GPA requirements for their applicants to the Fulbright Program.
With thousands of applicants each year, the Fulbright is a competitive award. If you are serious about winning, get started on your application early. For application advice, attend an IIE guidance session, which are held around the country. Talk with a local Fulbright program advisor and your academic advisor as you work on your proposal.
When preparing your Fulbright proposal, consider:
- With whom do you propose to work?
- What is unique, new or exciting about your project?
- Where will you study or research? Why is it important to go abroad to carry out your project?
- Why do you want to do it?
- How will your project help further your academic or professional development?
The Fulbright program selects winners based on: academic/professional record, language preparation, feasibility of the proposed project, personal qualifications, and extent to which the project will further the Fulbright aim of promoting mutual understanding among nations.
Fulbright Application Timeline
Students in college should start the process during the spring semester of their junior year. Between February and September, there are information sessions, webinars and campus events that students can attend in order to receive more information and find out if the Fulbright Program is right for them. Shortly after, in April, the online application opens to any interested applicants.
Between August 1 and October 1, students on college campuses will be required to meet their institution’s Fulbright deadline, which they can learn about through their campus Fulbright advisor. For those not currently attending college, the national deadline is at the beginning of October, which may change based on the application year.
Applications are judged during November and December, and students begin receiving initial notification of their Fulbright application status at the end of January or beginning of February. At this time, they will learn whether or not they’ve made it to the next round of judging. Finally, applicants are notified of their final Fulbright status between March and May.